In the past decade, there has been an increased adoption of GIS technologies for various facets of facilities management, business intelligence, smart cities development, urban planning, etc. that has fuelled its growth. The adoption and amalgamation of various advanced technologies such as IoT, VR, AR, with GIS as well as the evolution of technologies such as geospatial AI, 4D GIS software etc. have only led to the creation of numerous opportunities in the field.
Today’s digital age is witnessing complex technology transformation at a rapid rate with data proliferation opening up newer revenue streams. According to reports, the global GIS software market was valued at $3.24 billion in the year 2017, and is expected to double its market share and become almost $7.86 billion by the year 2025 and is expected to register a CAGR of 11.8% between the years 2018 – 2025.
Taking a look at emerging technology trends that will shape the future of GIS, the following observations have been made:
- Real-Time Factor: The generation of real-time spatiotemporal data is almost ubiquitous right now, and its application in areas pertaining to research in commerce is rapidly expanding. This, in turn, has accelerated our capability of creating and interacting in real-time with the data generated, and is in fact, acting as the core catalyst in GIScience and other relevant geospatial fields.
There has been a profound realignment of traditional structures, relationships, an expansion in research horizons and of course of a transformation in the way geospatial data is now collected, mapped and modelled. Real-time interaction has to lead to the creation of new geographic research initiatives, fused spatiotemporal data and various applications for governments, businesses, etc.
- Mobile Geospatial Sensor Platforms: We have witnessed the miniaturization of technologies that has enabled the exploration of new modalities for sensor distribution. With the advent of mobile geospatial sensor platforms, the abilities of businesses, governments as well as individuals to be able to garner vast volumes of data that has been remotely sensed has exponentially expanded. Owing to this, utilisation of data for critical purposes such as public safety, disaster response, etc. has been enhanced and continues to be finessed.
- The AR Opportunity: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality continue to grow and carve out a niche for themselves by integrating with GIS technologies. With GIS-enabled AR apps becoming more and more common, their varied field usage by service providers ranging from architects to municipal corporations etc, have demonstrated the direction in which the future is heading. When powered by 3-D spatial information, GIS applications can create immersive experiences for users across fields.
- Moving Inwards: Similar to the manner in which GIS maps citizen roadways, it is now being used for developing indoor maps. Though it is in the early stages of development and adoption, the popularity of in the future is likely to skyrocket as it can be used for various functions such as improved safety for emergency responders, gauging critical points of entry and other such information. Another really big opportunity that is going to arise for GIS in the future is on the UI level. Introducing UI will come as a major breakthrough for the technology because it will end up making maps much friendlier for developers as well as the users.
Maps being the visual language for understanding the context of the data, taking into consideration all the new exciting developments that we are looking forward to in GIS – the future looks really optimistic. Geared for a wider scale adoption, more and more organisations are now realising the sheer volume of business value that can be derived out of geospatial data. With trends such as data analytics, IoT, AI, VR etc. gaining popularity across the globe, we can expect GIS to also see the transformation and also aid in how organisations around the globe utilise these technologies in the future.